1980 Port Huron Central Boys' Track Team
Year Inducted: 2014
The 1980 Port Huron Central boy’s track and field team had a little bit of everything – speed, muscle, agility, depth and endurance. But most of all, the squad consisted of talented student athletes and strong competitors.
Central, which was open only nine years, had a strong track tradition in the 1970s under coach Lowell Spiess. The Cougars won five St. Clair Area League dual meet titles and four SCAL meet championships as well as two regional crowns. During that span, Central was 51-5 in dual meets with four undefeated seasons.
The 1980 squad swept the SCAL dual and meet titles and was the regional champion. The Cougars extended their dual meet win streak to 14 with a 7-0 record. They scored at least 100 points in every meet.
Led by its relay teams, Central set 29 school records and six SCAL meet records. The Cougars were second at the Central Michigan University Relays and fourth at the Huron Relays. They also won the inaugural Marysville Invitational and the Inter-City Track championships.
That team speed was evident at the Class B state finals in Sturgis. The Cougars were second in the 400-yard relay and fourth in the 800 relay. The 400-yard relay team of senior Ken Sanders, sophomore Tony Ward, junior Les Smith and junior Marvin Gerlach set a school record with a time of 43.6 seconds.
While Sanders’ career ended with the state meet, underclassmen Ward, Smith and Gerlach never had a chance to experience a state finals with Port Huron Central closing its doors in June of 1980.
The final Cougar runner ever to take to the track was Glenn Craze. The senior distance was in last place at the halfway mark of the 3,200 run but finished strong for seventh place.